5 ways to Master the Alexa Companion App

The Alexa Companion App is a free mobile App for iOS, Android or Fire Tablet.  There is also an online version at http://alexa.amazon.com/, which is identical to the mobile version, and you can access this version from any desktop web browser.  It is handy as you have a keyboard and large screen. 

Initially, The Alexa Companion App is used to setup the Amazon Echo, Dot or Tap when you first purchase it.  Here, we will look at what you can use the Alexa Companion App for in order to make your voice assistant more useful.

When you first startup the Alexa Companion App, you are at the Home screen.  This immediately gives you a history roll of your interactions with Alexa going back in time.  Within the summary of each interaction, you can click on the Voice Feedback link, and confirm if the natural language understanding worked correctly.  In other words, did Alexa understand what you said correctly?  You can help nudge the Alexa servers in the appropriate direction by letting the system know when it mis-understood a command.  

When you click on the hamburger menu in the upper left hand corner, you will see a number of options, including:

  • Home - This goes back to show the history of your voice interactions with Alexa.
  • Now Playing - This shows what is currently playing.  It also gives you controls to move to skips songs and move to the next.
  • Music & Books - Lets you play music or read back books.  You choose the service you want and with the App you can instruct Alexa to play it.
  • Shopping & To-do Lists - For any shopping list or To-Do list you, you can view, add and delete items on these lists.  Most likely you would want this on your phone to view while out and about.  
  • TImers & Alarms - Lets you see the Timers and Alarms you have setup in Alexa.
  • Skills - Lets you add more abilities to your Alexa through the use of skills.  This is one place you can choose to add them.  For any of the more complex skills, which require account linking to another service, you need to use one of the Alexa Companion Apps to enter your account information.
  • Smart Homes - This is where you setup the myriad different types of devices, applieances and Internet of Things (IoT) that you would like to control from Alexa.
  • Things To Try - Just a list of sample voice commands you can tell Alexa.
  • Settings - To set features related to each alexa device, come to this menu.  You can customize the sounds and notifications that the device makes, you can change the device name, the location associated with this device, the wake word for the device, along with setting the language (US English, UK English or German) and temperature units.  
  • Help & Feedback - This gives you links to the user guide for each device as well as Amazon customer service contact information.
  • Sign out - This option will let you sign in with a different account.

As you can see, there is alot you can do with the Alexa Companion App.  Here are the most important items you should setup:

  1. In Music & Books, make sure you go and enter your login information for the various third party music services you want to listen to, such as Spotify Premium, Pandora or iHeartRadio.
  2. In Skills, make sure you add any of the third party skills now available.  Check here for more info.
  3. For any home automation products you own, make sure you visit the Smart Home section.
  4. In Settings, for each device you have, ensure that you have customized your Sounds & Notifications, along with Device location, double check the time zone, and then make sure the wake word is as you want.
  5. In Settings, setup your Flash Briefing, possibly link your Google Calendar, and turn on or off Voice Purchasing.  

These are all settings you will want to set or update to get the full functionality out of your Alexa device.  I hope this article has helped you understand a little more about Alexa and how to get even more out of this powerful voice assistant.

 

 

 

 

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